Have you been asked to work at home due to the C********** (I’m not spelling it out to prevent being penalized by Google)? As someone who has been working from home for the past eight years, I know there are benefits as well as challenges to working remotely. Read further to find out how to adjust to your new temporary work at home situation.
Benefits of Working Remotely
1. No commute
Depending on how far you live from your office, you will save anywhere from 30 minutes to two hours per day by eliminating your daily commute. You’ll also save on gas, parking if it isn’t included at your workplace or public transit tokens/Presto Card fees! Cha-ching!
2. Meal planning is much easier
When you work remotely, you don’t have to plan what to bring for your lunch and snacks at the office and you don’t have to make your lunch the night before or in the morning. This is a big time saver!
3. Casual dress
You still have to get dressed lol – in fact, it’s important not to remain in your pajamas because you need to signal to your brain that you are in work mode! – but you can probably get away with wearing leggings or jeans and a casual shirt unless you are going to be having video conferences, in which case you should dress more professionally. Not wearing dressy business attire means you are going to save money on dry cleaning. When I worked in an office, I typically paid $15 and up a week for dry cleaning.
4. Skip the makeup
Again, unless you are participating in a videoconference, there is no need to put on foundation, mascara or even lipstick! You should still comb your hair and make sure it’s clean and don’t skip your skincare routine as you need to clean and moisturize your skin every day to keep it glowing.
5. Save on coffee
For coffee drinkers who were in the habit of visiting their local Starbucks or Tim Hortons near their workplace, you will notice that you save a lot of money while working from home. Depending on your caffeine habit, you could easily save $2-$6 per day when working from home since you will hopefully be making your own coffee. That translates into $40-$120 per month in savings!
6. Slip in household chores
I’m not talking about doing a head-to-toe deep cleaning of your home, but everyone is entitled to coffee breaks so you can use them to put a load of laundry in the washer or empty the dishwasher. This is another effective use of your time.
7. Off-Peak grocery shopping
If you are super organized, you can do your grocery shopping first thing in the morning before you start your workday. Even during these stressful times, the grocery stores are usually not as busy in the early morning.
8. Lunch Break outside
Whether you take half an hour or an hour for lunch, you can enjoy it in your backyard or on your balcony, watching the buds appear in your garden and listening to the birds. Research reveals that access to natural light and views of the outdoors is the number one attribute employees seek. If you are a yoga enthusiast, you can even place your mat in the backyard and do some yoga or go for a 25-minute walk or run in your neighbourhood. As someone who used to rush to the gym on my lunch hour and worry about making it back to work on time, I know that the ability to integrate exercise and outdoor time seamlessly into your workday at home provides so many physical and mental health benefits.
Challenges of Working from Home
Just like at work, there are many interruptions that can eat away at your time when you work remotely. Okay, you won’t have your cubicle neighbour regaling you with stories about her weekend plans but there are interruptions of a different kind. Many service people work only from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. If you require repairs to your home such as plumbing, electrical or Internet, you will be the one who has to let them in and oversee them while they do their work, which takes you away from doing yours.
2. Looking after kids
If you have kids, they are probably at home now due to schools being closed. If they are in high school or university, they can probably look after themselves EXCEPT for meals, but if you have younger children, you will need to be assisting them with their online schoolwork and homework, preparing their meals, taking them out for walks or bike rides so that they can burn off some of their energy, and generally keeping them entertained.
3. Less social contact
Many people look forward to going to work to be able to interact with their colleagues. It is true that working from home can be socially isolating although if you are active on social media, you can connect with friends or colleagues online, but this is admittedly not the same as meeting your colleagues in the lunchroom.
4. Neighbourhood noise
Working from home means that you may be susceptible to hearing the noises in your neighbourhood. If your neighbour is having construction work done on their house or a construction crew is repairing the sewer pipes on your street, you will have to deal with a noise issue. You can either close your windows or wear noise-cancelling headphones.
5. Physical inactivity
When you work from home, you skip your daily commute. If you traditionally took public transit to your workplace, you usually would have walked to the bus or subway and then walked from the bus or subway to your office, multiplied by two to include your return home. Working remotely eliminates all of that beneficial exercise! So you really must squeeze a walk or run, yoga session or mini-workout into your workday at home if you want to maintain your current level of fitness.
You may be interested in reading, “6 Best Apps for Working from a Home Office“.